Types of Castles

Tower Houses

Tower houses are exactly what the name implies. They were typically three or four stories tall with a heavily reinforced entrance on the ground level. Often the staircase leading to the upper levels could be quickly removed, which would prevent access to all but the ground floor.

Motte and Bailey Castles

A motte is an artificial mound, often created by reshaping an existing hill. They were common in the years immediately following the Norman Invasion of England in 1066 because of their effectiveness and ease of construction. Typically, a wooden tower was placed on top of the motte, which often served as the residence for the lord of the castle. However, many of these wooden towers were later replaced with a stone keep.

The bailey was a fortified courtyard area surrounding the motte. It was protected by a wooden palisade, an earth mound, or both. Inside the bailey were all of the structures needed for castle operations including a storehouse, stable, kitchen, chapel, and housing for soldiers.

Concentric Castles

Sometimes called a multiple castle, a concentric castle has two or more curtain walls, creating a castle within a castle. The famous Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers in Syria, and Beaumaris in Wales are excellent examples of this style.

Quadrangular Castle

This type of castle has a central courtyard and doesn't have a seperate keep. Instead, all the rooms of the castle are integrated with the curtain wall itself, forming a quadrangle. Quadrangle castles did not provide the same level of protection as a concentric castle, and they mostly started to appear as the effectiveness of traditional castles began to fade. Gundpowder made the old castles practically obsolete, so there was a shift away from designs that provided the best defense, to designs that provided the most comfort for the residents. Bodiam Castle in England is textbook example of a quadrangular castle.